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The Western Nevada College baseball and softball teams will fold after the 2016 season because of funding cuts, college officials said Tuesday.
“It’s the toughest decision I made,” WNC President Chet Burton said. “These are great young men and women but, at the end of the day, I’ve got to look at the school as a whole.
“I have no funding,” he said.
The current student athletes will continue this year and next year before the program ends.
“Nobody in the program now will be hurt,” Burton said.
Burton said between the baseball and the softball program, there are about 50 students involved. Shutting down the programs will save the college more than $400,000 a year.
“It’s really a disappointment,” said Mayor Bob Crowell. “Baseball here is a nationally recognized team. Athletics may not be necessary but it enriches the school.”
Burton said WNC coaches wanted a week to talk to their student athletes and potential recruits, giving them plenty of time to make their own decisions.
The WNC baseball team made its third straight appearance in the Western District Tournament last year. The Wildcats last advanced to the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series in 2012. WNC also advanced in 2007 and 2009.
The Wildcats are three-time Scenic West Conference Champions, three-time Western District Champions and have won the region 18 championship four times. The program started in 2006, but was first discussed in 2002. Coach DJ Whittemore was hired in 2004.
The softball program began play during the 2009 season.